Guest Post: Will 2011 Bring Better Advice for Jobseekers Without Degrees?

Looking for advice on how to get a job if you don’t have a college degree?jobseeker, job search

Google’s front page may not provide the answers depending on your search terms.

“Nearly 60 percent of American jobs now require at least a bachelor’s degree, according to Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements Through 2018, a June 2010 report released by the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University.” Source

Anyone who does not have a degree and is looking for a job may feel his or her first resort is retail, food service, or customer service. Those who are not suited for these professions, though, want and deserve good instruction on how to get started in a career that they are passionate about. When society expects more from people, people give more, but they have to know the steps to get there first.

The top search listings on Google’s front page that relate to finding a job without a degree or advice for non-graduates is narrow-minded at best. Their top five highest paying occupations without a college diploma are as follows:

1. Air Traffic Controller

2. Funeral Director

3. Operations Manager

4. Industrial Production Manager

5. Transportation Manager

And the “advice” they list include:

1.       Go back to school when your lack of education becomes a roadblock.

2.       [When preparing your resume when you don’t have a degree], don’t list education at all.

Other articles list the top 20 jobs for people without degrees, but they all have the same thing in common; they are all under the label of high-paying jobs.

But can someone in their twenties with scant experience garner a position as an air traffic controller?  Can they obtain a management position without prior experience in management?

Not many of the articles offer advice on how to start a career that leads toward these high-paying positions. As a non-graduate with years of experience in positions that showcase transferable skills, I would like to see greater attention paid to the following challenges of finding a job when you have no degree:

1.       Many people simply cannot afford to go back to school.

2.       How to work around how applicant tracking systems handle degrees with no resumes.

3.       How to garner entry-level jobs that lead to these high paying roles.

What I certainly don’t want to see is an article that claims you don’t need a degree to be a transportation manager only to find another article that says you do.

“If you plan to become a transportation manager in the United States, you will usually need to have earned a bachelor’s degree.” Source

What is your experience with searching for advice as a non-graduate trying to start their career?

The author, Chanelle Schneider, runs There From Here where she writes on career and life advice for Generation Y with a specific focus on those older GenY’ers who have yet to graduate from college. Known as @WriterChanelle on Twitter, she also writes for the as the DC Social Media Examiner, is the founder of the generational chat #GenYChat and manages the @GenYChat account.

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